Outside Almaty

Affen a few days and a lovely night out with Joseph and Yeldos in Almaty I went to the close-by mountains. First, the Medeo Ice Skating arena and then the ILE Nationalpark at about 3200m.

The Ice Skating arena is actually a very old one - 1951 - from the Soviet Area and about 1700m above sea level. Many Ice Speed Skating records were established here. However, the glory times are over since the late eighties and now its is only used as a Bandy Game arena.

Next, I went cup the cableway at roughly 3200m and had a few hours to stroll around. The glaciers around are shrinking as well and now a long way from the last station, but you still can see a glimpse of them .

And finally i set up a nice camp site.


Just had a stroll around Almaty today. While I was here already 3-4 years ago I wasn't really aware how green the city is. Trees are lining the streets all the time and parks from small to large are everywhere. And also it's actually a very quiet city, really relaxed and laid back, i.e. compared to Astana. Streets feel empty....

Wenn to the green bazar - finally a lively place as you would imagine alongside the silk road. Spices, meats, fish, herbes, dried fruits, nuts, and fresh fresh fruits and vegetables.

Went also to the Ascension Cathedral. It’s a really lovely one, probable the most beautiful off the whole journey.


Arrived in Almaty

First stop was as recommended by Amy Cannon the Landy Shop. Lovely little place. They have done useful parts at stock - but not what I needed. Highly recommended, very friendly staff.

Next stop was at the official Land Rover Service. A quick inspection before I had one. Everything looked very good not a single item to point at. They were really sukriced with the conditions as they have seen others. The looked at the under body, the lies, the bearings, the brakes... That's a good sign as from now on until India there isn't really a Landy Service Station. And its was also for free

Went to ARB and bought two shackles and a recovery strap which were nicked from our accident recovery. Very good place. A must stop for parts.

Now, a nice hotel. Tomorrow is a touristy sightseeing day


Fake Silk Road Movie Set

This Fake Movie Set is located north west of Kapchagay just beside the River Ili. This set was used for the film Nomad, but since has been also used for other films. It is not in the best shape and restorations are still ongoing but it's still a cool place to visit.


Charyn Canyon Nationalpark

This is breathtakingly beautiful. The canyon has many walkways, a track alongside on the top and a track straight through for 4x4s. At the end nod there is beautiful campsite. It's just a problem that in order to get there, there is a height limit of about 2.2m - so not for our beloved 4x4 with a roof tent on top. But it's still worth it to drive the track (or walk it).


Charyn River

Toady I took a small road alongside the Charyn river and the canyon it's forming before the river is heading to the main attraction, the Charyn Canyon National Park. Already stunningly beautiful. It's worth the visit as it’s a detour from the main road to Almaty.


Back in Kazakhstan

First stop was Semey. Stayed in Hotel Nomad for two nights - its real the only good one around. Next, tried to get my iPhone repaired but they fucked it up completely. They said they could repair the screen, removed the screen but actually didn't had the spare part - went from working to dead.

Stayed the second night with two overlander couples from Germany (both had an iveco daily 4x4). Had a lovely night out.

Below are some of the crossing down to Kapchagay... It's about 1000km of boredom......


Bajanaul National Park

This is the third Nationalpark I campe for two nights and it was also the best one in Kazakhstan so far. And as it was pre-season I was again the only one around. Not even the close by hotel / store was open for a beer or so. But in exchange the landscape was stunning!!


David Marcus

I was heading down to the Balqash Lake and before I sorted our overnight camp I bumped into David Marcus - A South African Overlander, Land Rover Enthusiast & also known from Land Rover Magazines. Anyway. I had a nice first chat while he showed his Land Rover 300 TDI SW and the Discovery 2. The Discovery 2 was pulling the Landy as his engine was basically gone. Originally he wanted to drive own as far as possible before the night but then he stayed with us at the lake.

And of course I had a long chat about Landys, his Journeys and Missions. Superb bloke! Unfortunately he had a bad crash the next day at around lunchtime. Both Land Rover were heavily damaged but he was not hurt. With help from his Kazakhstan Land Rover Friends he managed to get a transport ....



So, after our first National Park I went to Astana. First night run a Hotel and next two ones couch surfing.

What to do? Well, I went after arrival straight to the main city park and first hat an interesting encounter: The BMW Club Astana. Very friendly bunch of People. Apart from food I was meandering through the park. Next Day I meet up with my couch surfer and in the afternoon we meet his friends from a local choir (also mainly expats), before however I went sight seeing, very touristy.

Astona is capital in the middle of nowhere and they are ramping up a new tow center with all those fancy modern Buildings, Parks and Shopping malls.


Burabay National Park

After, a few long days of driving, plain emptiness and not so nice weather I reached the Burabay National Park. Tried to find a camp site but no real results by google. So, tried my luck locally. With a few translation and hand signs we found support by the lady „Assel“. She helped evotedly to get a permit for the park - actually for three nights and I was the first camper of the season!!

So weIstayed a lovely location for three nights at a small pensiular. Apart form a small walk half around the main Burabay lake I’ve done nothing but relaxing.


The North of Kasakhstan

In the meantime a few Impressions of North Kazakhstan



After a few days and driving very long distances due to rain, strom, and plainly an empty nothing I reached Qostanai. This is the biggest city in the North of Kazakhstan and known for it's mining industry.

However, its also a very lively city with an actually nice City Centre and once Spring and Summer are at full prime this should be also a very green city. Surprisingly this is so far the most lively place. Quite a few young people around and right beside the main square the is also a small nice restaurant called „Dolce Vita“ - highly recommended.



After the road from hell I arrived in Aqtöbe. The first hotel I had in mind was not really convincing. So we went for a more modern one - the Dastan. A bit on the expensive side but ok and for two nights. One of the first things we figured out was that there is a Wunderbar in Aqtöbe.

One of the main tasks to give the Land Rover a well deserved wash and to fill up the groceries.


Kazakhstan - the first days

Now, I'm in Kazakhstan. First stay was in Uralsk, some shopping and to set out the first destination: Inderbor and Lake Inder. Lovely scenery and our first camp site. Greated by Livestock - Cows and cheeps - and the shepherd in the afternoon and the morning.

From there I went to our next destination - the white chalk mountain Aktolagaj. First I tried to follow the rout form our campsite eastwards - but this was ver slow going. So I changed strategy and went for the long but probably fast way over Atyrau and the A27. Well, this was okish and as the night was closing in we stayed in Maket. The Hotel had seen its best days long ago and I were the only guest but didn’t care. However, some food was still on the agenda and the I opted for a place which looked like restaurant down the road. At first glance it was a strange place - more like a night club - but then we were persuaded to stay. And boy this was luck. It was private retirement party. And as friendly as they are they offered food and drinks - mainly Vodka. And being alian photos were a main attraction. But I have to say - very friendly and lovely people. All the Best to all of them!

Next day back on the road again to get to the mountains. But the roads were a mess straight from hell. Not really existent, and potholes like sinkholes. And Muddy. On average its was 20km/h. I didn’t took any photos as this would ashame the camera. The best thing on top was that there was no sign were the mounting was and the description of the travel guide didn’t match the surroundings at all. Epic fail. At least I could see something white on the southern horizon.

So the only option was to head on for Aqtöbe. But as night was closing in we stayed in Shubarkuduk. Aral, a very friendly local and his young soon Ali, guided me to a motel and ordered some food as well. During dinner we exchanged some words as far as our language got us. He explained especially how many km are left to get to Aqtöbe and that I already paid for the food accommodation - he even called a friend to explain.


Enter Kazakhstan

Now, my main journey starts for real - Enter Kazakhstan. This should be an easy boarder crossing as the visa requirements for Germans are relative easy (15 Days Visa free....)

First the Russian Checkpoint. This was no comparison. Friendly, Helpful, smiling, asking question, not much paper work. This was a breeze and only 15min. But the get off was a mess. A single road for Cars and Trucks and both ways. and the Road was not made of Tarmac. to get to the Kazakhstan Boarder we moved very very slowly for about 70min. This was so far the first last place where I saw German number plates.

The Kazakhstan Checkpoint was easy going. First I had to get the immigration forms (not much to fill in) and a small paper stating that two want to enter. Next was the passport control. About 5 Minutes and 3 stamps. Done. Car inspection - hmm maybe 5 minutes and I we go.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your experieance on our site, show personalized content and targeted, analyse traffic and to understand where our audience is coming from. For more information please view our GDPR Section.